Margaret Deland

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Deland sometime before 1894

Margaret Deland (née Margaretta Wade Campbell) (February 23, 1857 – January 13, 1945) was an American novelist, short story writer, and poet. She also wrote an autobiography in two volumes. She is generally considered part of the literary realism movement.

Life[edit]

Greywood, Margaret Deland's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine

Margaretya Wade Campbell was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania (today a part of Pittsburgh) on February 23, 1857. Her mother died due to complications from the birth and she was left in the care of an aunt named Lois Wade and her husband Benjamin Campbell Blake.[1]

On May 12, 1880, she married Lorin F. Deland. Her husband had inherited his father's publishing company, which he sold in 1886 and worked in advertising.[1] It was at this period she began to write, first authoring verses for her husband's greeting-card business.[1] Her poetry collection The Old Garden was published in 1886.

Deland and her husband moved to Boston, Massachusetts and, over a four year span, they took in and supported unmarried mothers at their residence at 76 Mount Vernon Street on Beacon Hill. They also maintained a summer home, Greywood, overlooking the Kennebunk River in Kennebunkport, Maine.[2] It was in this home that Canadian actress Margaret Anglin visited in 1909 and the two women looked over Deland's manuscript for The Awakening of Helena Richie. As Anglin reported, "I never spent a pleasanter time than I did while Mrs. Deland and I chugged up and down the little Kennbunkport [sic] River in a boat, talking over the future of Helena Richie."[3] The Delands kept their summer home in Maine for about 50 years.[2]

In 1910, Deland wrote an article for the Atlantic Monthly recognizing the ongoing struggles for women's rights in the United States: "Restlessness!" she wrote, "A prevailing discontent among women — a restlessness infinitely removed from the content of a generation ago."[4] During World War I, Deland did relief work in France; she was awarded a cross from the Legion of Honor for her work.[1] "She received a Litt.D. from Bates College in 1920. In 1926, she was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters[1] along with Edith Wharton, Agnes Repplier and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. The election of these four women to the organization was said to have "marked the letting down of the bars to women."[5]

By 1941, Deland had published 33 books.[2] She died in Boston at the Hotel Sheraton, where she then lived, in 1945.[6] She is buried at Forest Hills Cemetery.

Critical response[edit]

Deland is known principally for the novel John Ward, Preacher (1888), an indictment of Calvinism, which became a best-seller.[7] Her 'Old Chester' books, based on her early memories of the Pittsburgh communities where she grew up — including Maple Grove and Manchester — were also popular. She was recognized as an important and popular author of literary realism in the United States, though some of her plots and themes were shocking to proper Bostonians.[7] In her lifetime she was called the American Thomas Humphry Ward and was compared to Elizabeth Gaskell.[1]

Published books[edit]

Poetry[edit]

Novels[edit]

Short story collections[edit]

  • Mr. Tommy Dove, and Other Stories (1893)
  • The Wisdom of Fools (1897)
  • Old Chester Tales (1898)
  • The Common Way (1904)
  • R.J.'s Mother and Some Other People (1908)
  • Around Old Chester (1915)
  • Small Things (1919)
  • New Friends in Old Chester (1924)
  • Old Chester Days (1935)

Autobiography[edit]

  • If This be I, as I Suppose it Be (1935)
  • Golden Yesterdays (1941)

Other nonfiction[edit]

  • Florida Days (1889)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Levenson, J. C. Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary (Edward T. James, editor). Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971: Vol. I, 454. ISBN 0674627342
  2. ^ a b c Burr, Steven (2005). The Kennebunks in Season. Charleston, South Carolina. p. 102. 
  3. ^ LeVay, John. Margaret Anglin: A Stage Life. Toronto: Dundurn, 1989: 116. ISBN 0-88924-206-2
  4. ^ Wetzsteon, Ross. Republic of Dreams: Greenwich Village: The American Bohemia, 1910-1960. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2007: 166. ISBN 0-684-86995-0
  5. ^ "First Women Elected to Institute of Arts; Edith Wharton Among the Four Chosen – American Academy Makes Two Men Members," New York Times. November 12, 1926.
  6. ^ "Margaret Deland, Writer, Dies at 87 (abstract)". The New York Times. January 14, 1945. Retrieved June 1, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Lang, Eleanor. Art of the Real World: Eight American Women Realists. Rowman & Littlefield, 1979: 173. ISBN 0808404245

There is a recent biography "Margaret Deland: Writing Toward Insight" written by Ruth Maxa Filer (2014) published by Balboa Press: http://bookstore.balboapress.com/Products/SKU-000601582/Margaret-Deland-Writing-toward-Insight.aspx

External links[edit]